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An energy drink is a beverage that contains ingredients to boost the drinker’s energy. They may or may not be carbonated. The ingredients include caffeine, B vitamins, various types of sugars and certain ingredients such as taurine, glucuronolactone, guarana, ginseng, ginkgo biloba extract and l-carnitine. Caffeine stimulates neurons in the brain to keep us alert, releasing adrenaline, which sends a signal to the liver to pump more glucose into the bloodstream. With more glucose in the bloodstream and body, our brain is tricked into believing that we have more energy than we really do. Adrenaline makes heart beats faster and dilates the eyes.
Energy drinks can cause some people to miss sleep altogether since caffeine blocks the effects of adenosine, a brain chemical that helps us sleep and can lead to insomnia. This can interfere with the ability to perform concentration heavy tasks. Too much caffeine can produce a diuretic effect, which can also cause dehydration, anxiety, and irritability from too much of the stimulant and from lack of water. There can be full-blown panic and headaches from the caffeine withdrawal. Adolescent consumption of caffine has been linked to dependence, poor sleep and some developmental problems. Taurine, a sulfur-containing amino acid, regulates skeletal muscle contractile function and may reduce exercise-induced damage thus improving exercise capacity and performance. Also, a study found that healthy people who drank too many energy drinks has increased heart contraction rates up to an hour later. People with underlying heart conditions can go into cardiac arrest after just a few energy drinks which could be harmful since they cause more forceful heart contractions.
Another study shows the connection between energy drinks and cardiac events such as abnormal heart rhythm risk. Another component, glucuronolactone is said to favor the body’s natural defense mechanism but little research has been done and so it is still unknown whether this compound is harmful or beneficial. B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins required as coenzymes for proper cell function. Because energy drinks contain large amounts of sugar, these vitamins are necessary to convert the added sugar to energy. Guarana is a caffeine-rich fruit and it is used to increase awareness and energy. However, the amount of guarana found in energy drinks is still far from the amounts expected to deliver benefits or cause adverse events. Ginseng is one of the most popular herbal supplements in the world and is used for treatment and prevention of many ailments. Like guarana, the amount of ginseng in the energy drinks are not enough to cause a striking effect. Ginkgo biloba extract has been reported to have antioxidant properties
However, no well-conducted research has shown that it has important clinical effects on healthy or ill persons. L-Carnitine is made by the liver and kidneys to increase metabolism and it has been shown to increase maximal oxygen consumption and lower the respiratory quotient, indicating stimulation of lipid metabolism and affects recovery from exercise stress. Sugars are the basic currency of energy in the body, with glucose being the key carbohydrate that can readily be oxidized by skeletal muscle for energy production. However, long-term exposure of the body to excesses of simple sugars is associated with obesity and insulin resistance. Over time, cells become unable to secrete sufficient insulin to maintain normal blood glucose levels eventually wearing out the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, which leads to type 2 diabetes. Heavily consuming these energy drinks may result in liver or nerve injury, vairous cardiovascular problems, seizures and ultimately death. Therefore, while energy drinks may provide short and rapid effects but in the long term they are not actually beneficial for our body.
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